Do you have time to learn?
My colleague Caroline at Berkeley Communications wrote an interesting post on LinkedIn Pulse about finding time to learn. Caroline spoke about wanting to try and find five hours every week to spend on learning about a topic or a new approach which will help her in her role. Fired up this didn’t last long before it became increasingly difficult to achieve her five hour target as work and life at home started to get in the way.
Is learning a luxury? Yes. But it is also really important for job satisfaction and self-improvement.
I have also fallen victim to not having enough time to think about new projects, learn about new techniques and approaches or technology. Three kids and a season ticket at Old Trafford means that the missus probably wouldn’t look too kindly on me locking myself away to read my new management book instead of spending time with her.
So how have I got round this?
There are two things that I am absolutely religious about and it has helped me personally no end.
- Podcasts and audio books. Instead of reading I make use of the hour commute to work by listening to the books I want to read while I drive to the office. This means I get a minimum of 10 hours a week “reading” and means I now no longer have a pile of unread books beside my bed that I am too tired to pick up.
- 45 minute walk at lunch (regardless of weather). I get away from my desk and get some fresh air. This helps me reach my step target each day but also gives me time to think instead of just doing. Working in a busy office can sometimes feel like a bubble and it can be difficult to take a step back and ask the right questions about a project as the urge to just dive in and solve a problem kicks in. Is it worth doing? Why are we doing it? What are we trying to achieve? Who can help? All are questions I find myself asking myself as I analyse a project on my daily walk. The results has been a reduced amount of projects, a more productive day and I have been more likely to say no to just doing a job which will eat up time for little results.